Useful Bible Studies > Ecclesiastes Commentary > chapter 9

Quiet words of wisdom

Ecclesiastes 9:17-18

One wise person can save an entire city (Ecclesiastes 9:13-15), and one foolish ruler can destroy an entire city.

The foolish ruler shouts because he wants to get peopleís attention. He is trying to convince his friends and to frighten his enemies. He speaks bold words because he wants his soldiers to be bold in their battle. He acts in a wild manner as he tries desperately to control their sense of fear.

But the wise person does not need to speak loudly as he gives his advice. He talks in a sensible manner because he wants people to be sensible. He appeals to their intelligence, not their emotions. And he is not trying to control anyone; he is trying to teach them the truth. The truth can save a person (John 8:32); the shouts of a foolish ruler cannot save anyone.

That is why wisdom is better than the soldierís weapons (military arms). Wisdom is better than strength (Ecclesiastes 9:16). A poor man who is wise can save his city from a vast army (Ecclesiastes 9:13-15).

Sinners are people who do wrong and evil things. The Bible considers sinners to be fools, because they do not follow Godís wisdom. By their evil deeds, they oppose the good things that God does. And so they cause trouble for themselves and for other people, too.

We are all sinners (Ecclesiastes 7:20), but we still have the opportunity to discover Godís wisdom (Job chapter 28). We cannot find it in our own thoughts, because true wisdom only comes from God (Proverbs 2:6). But if we respect God, he can teach us to be wise (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Proverbs 9:10).

Next part: A fly in the ointment (Ecclesiastes 10:1)

 

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© 2014, Keith Simons.